October 2014 Risley Post

The Risley Post

October 2014                            Volume 2, Issue 2

Risley Hosts Invitational

Cross Country Meet

On Thursday, October 2nd the Risley Cross Country Team, along with Coach Andrew Cura, hosted an invitational meet.  There were runners from several local schools including Craver, Pueblo Academy of Art, Sierra Vista, Roncalli, Heaton, and Corwin. 

Several Risley staff members helped Coach Cura with the event including Mr. Kouba, Mr. Carrillo, Ms. Murphy, Mrs. Arellano, Mr. Arellano, Ms. Celest Gonzales, Mr. Donovan, Ms. J. Garcia, Ms. Curtis, Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Hausman, and Ms. Montoya.  There were also many students from Risley in attendance encouraging and cheering their classmates on. We are very proud of all our runners! 


Girls Softball Team Finishes 2014 Season

Congratulations to Coach Mario Arellano, Assistant Coach Cesar Carrillo, Ms. S. Gonzales, and all of the girls who represented Risley on our softball team.  They played a great season.

Varsity:  Priscilla Gallegos, Jenna Herrera, Ayanna Vigil, Halle Herrera, Selena Gonzales, Delaney Barela, Sierra Sanchez, Andrea Guillen, Mikayla    Duran, Shawna Ashlock Arellano

 JV: Randy Harris, Elycia Cancino, Ally Vargas, Aaliyah Collins, Shania Sanchez, Lael Vigil, Hannah Woolington, Tierra Martinez


Notification of Drug-sniffing Dog Searches at  Risley International Academy of Innovation

 In an effort to continually improve student safety and maintain focus on achievement, the School District will start deploying random and unannounced drug sniffing dog searches of the school due to increased concerns about the unauthorized possession and use of drugs in our school. 

The following information outlines how and where the searches will take place:

1. School personnel will conduct all searches.

2. A school administrator will accompany the drug-sniffing dog and police officer at all times.  If a dog makes a positive indication for drugs, a school administrator will be in charge of leading both the investigation and the search of the student, following district policies.

 3. The locations that will be subject to search may include: parking lots, lockers, classrooms, and any other space on district property.

 4. Students will not be searched by the dogs.  If the dogs enter the classroom, students will be asked to stand in one area of the classroom while the dogs sniff back packs and the remainder of the classroom.

 5. Any student, who is found with illegal drugs, will be disciplined according to district policies.  Parents also will be notified of the finding and discipline.  Administrators will be discrete and will escort any suspected student to the office to conduct any searches of personal effects.

 6. The administration will choose the school locations where the dogs will search.  Searches will be random, unannounced and different areas will be searched each time the dogs are used at the schools.

Please contact our main office at 549-7440 if you have any questions or concerns.

 Music Notes

Mr. Matt Kouba—Director


Our first music performance is called the Risley Fall Concert. It is on Thursday night, October 16th. The concert will begin at 7:00pm in the Risley Cafetorium. The choir will be singing a medley of songs by Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. They will also sing two traditional choir songs. The jazz band will play three exciting tunes that are swing or Latin jazz. Our Concert Band will also perform three new tunes.  We hope to see everyone there!!!


Hispanic Heritage Month

Submitted by Mrs. Elaine Madrid and Mrs. Diana Vigil

Approximately fifty ESL students and parents celebrated “Hispanic Heritage Month” by gathering for a special event on October 8th at Risley.  Tables were decorated with sombreros and everyone enjoyed chips and salsa as they tuned in to a special presentation by Mrs. Vigil and Ms. Garcia- Alvarez. Parents learned about AVID, binders and planners, IB principles, the new grading format, upcoming conferences, TCAP, and Parent Portal resources. They were quick to voice appreciation for the opportunity to gain a better understanding of student expectations by having the information presented in their native language.    

Two Risley students, Angel Ascencio and Jesus Molina, provided entertainment for the evening by performing a well-choreographed dance routine. The evening culminated with a Tostada Bar in which everyone made their own tostadas for dinner.  There were also drawings for a number of free dinners provided by local restaurants.  To finish our celebration, everyone enjoyed the fabulous desserts that were provided by our Risley families. 


Featured Teachers & Staff

Mrs. Maureen Seals—Language and Literature

 I was born in Minnesota, the land of the Danes. I moved around a lot before moving from Kansas City to Pueblo three years ago when my husband's job transferred him here. 

 I went through high school in Minnesota then joined the military so that I could attend college. I graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in psychology and criminal justice. I earned my master's degree, in Educational Research and Psychology, there as well. I sacraficed to earn an education so that I could rise above the situation I was raised in. My education afforded me opportunities and I chose to become a teacher so that I could provide students with the chance to have options from which to choose as well. 

 I have been teaching for 19 years but I must say, I love the Risley Way! It fosters success and excellence. 

 My family is my world but I also enjoy weightlifting, reading, and traveling. I've been to South America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands many times. I've also been to many countries in Europe. I have strong beliefs by which I live. I believe that hard work and integrity bring "good luck".

Mr. Karl Brandenburg—Individuals & Societies

Mr. Brandenburg was born in Boulder, Colorado, but doesn’t consider it his hometown. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona and that is the place he calls home. He retired from the Army here, and lives in Pueblo West. Mr. Brandenburg attended Townsend Jr. High and Sabins High School, both of which are in Tucson, AZ. He went to Pima Community College for general studies from 1991-1993. He also attended Central Texas College earning an AA degree in general studies in 1997. In 2003 he went to Rio Salado College, majoring in computer technology before attending Thomas Edison State College graduating with a BA in history in 2007. Finally, Mr. Brandenburg went to CSU-P to get his teaching License to pursue an MA in education.

Mr. Brandenburg wanted to become a teacher because he believes he can make a difference through teaching by dedicating himself to the future of this nation's children.  He wants to bring a different perspective to this job. Mr. Brandenburg taught in the military for 6 years, then as a substitute for 3 years. This is his first year as a full time teacher.

He is married to his wife, Christiane . He also has 2 sons; one is in basic training and the other is in 7th grade. His family is a very tight and independent family. His favorite hobbies are being outdoors, hunting, fishing, archery, movies about wars, motorcycle riding, hiking, exercising, and History. He has visited many places including Germany, all of the United States, Poland, France, Austria, the Balkans, Italy, Iraq, and Mexico.

Some of his favorite things about Risley are the willingness of the staff to help, the people being kind and considerate, and everyone is approachable. His hopes for the future are to encourage and educate the youth of America so that they will be successful in everything they do. He also hopes to complete his masters degree in the next 5 years.  A motivational quote he’d like to share is, “Life is full of obstacles, it’s how you navigate them that makes you successful.”      


Mr. Will Robinson

I was born in the small town of Sheridan, Wyoming.  I moved around as a kid, living on various cattle ranches because my father was a cowboy. I eventually moved to Boulder, Colorado where I attended Southern Hills Middle School and Fairview High School.

I went Colorado State University in Fort Collins where I studied various social sciences before settling on Sociology and Criminology. While living in Fort Collins, I met my wife, a Pueblo native. She wanted to move back here to be close to her family so we moved here in late 2003.

I became a teacher because I love helping young people discover new things and achieve their potential. This is my first year teaching, although I have worked at Risley for the last four years as a paraprofessional.

For the last eleven years, I have been married and I have one son who was born at the end of August. My parents live on a small ranch just outside of Boulder, Colorado. My brother is studying plant science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and my sister lives in the Denver area with her husband and daughter.

My favorite hobbies are reading and watching movies. I particularly love old movies and movies from other countries. I like the books of Kurt Vonnegut and Ian Rankin.

I have visited many states, including New York, Connecticut, California, Nevada and New Mexico. When I was sixteen I travelled across the Pacific Ocean to visit my grandfather in Australia. Six years ago, I went to England with my wife, it was an amazing trip. I have also been to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

What I love about Risley are the wonderful personalities I run into. The students and the staff all have interesting and insightful things to say and I enjoy being around such fascinating and fun people.

My goal is to be a great teacher and help the students at Risley succeed. If I could give the students one message it would be to never underestimate yourself, you are capable of more than you know.



8th Grade Students Experimenting in Science Class

The 8th grade students in Mrs. Kim Salinas’s classes have been busy this year discovering many new things.  In early October, the 8th graders were conducting a lab experiment on physical and chemical reactions.  Students had to perform eight different reactions that included using antacid with water, baking soda and lemon juice, Play-Doh, Kool-Aid and water, ice melting, and vinegar with baking soda.  They had to decide if they encountered a chemical reaction or a physical reaction depending on which combination they used.  The final step in the experiment was justifying their decision with details, examples, and scientific reasoning.  Awesome job 8th Graders!!!!!  


From the Assistant Principal’s Desk…

Mrs. Amy Hausman                                                

Dear Students and Parents:

We have had a great start to our school year and are at the end of 1st quarter.  We will be having Parent/Teacher Conferences on November 5th from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm when we return from Intercession.

 Things to think about and talk to your child about before coming to the conference:

· What is easy/hard about school for your child?

· If you could tell your teacher one thing about your child, what would it be?

· What strategies have previous teachers/you implemented with your child that have been successful?

· What is your child interested in?

· How does your child learn best? (auditory, visual, or kinesthetic)

· What are your child’s strengths/weaknesses?

 These conferences are valuable opportunities for our parents and teachers to talk about student progress and share information so your child will have a successful school year. I encourage you to plan on attending conferences this year!

 We have just finished a wonderful softball and Cross-Country season where our athletes represented Risley International with Pride and Excellence.  Our softball girls made it to the second round of play-offs performing with sportsmanship and teamwork.  The boys’ cross-country team placed 3rd overall in the City!  We are just beginning boys’ basketball and it looks to be a great season as well.  Make sure that if you are going to want to play girls’ basketball or participate in wrestling that you get all of your paperwork and an up-to-date physical into the office as soon as possible. 

 Enjoy the break and come back refreshed and ready to continue your journey toward academic success!


Counselor’s Corner 

 Ms. Gina  Curtis   and  Ms. Michelle Montoya

 A Key to Being Healthy, Happy, and Successful…  Get Involved

 One sure way to have friends, be healthy, happy, and stay out of trouble...is to get involved! 

Just ask students who are in cross country, band, softball, choir, football, office helpers, morning announcement reporters, art club, etc.  They are too busy and having too much fun to be sad, have friend problems, be bored, or worry about things.  It is a fact that students who are more involved in clubs and school activities are healthier physically and emotionally and have more friends and less school-related problems.  They are recognized by other students, teachers and their families in very positive ways and receive a lot of positive attention for their accomplishments. 

School sports, music, and other activities are keys to success.  For example, students have more advanced skills and talents when entering high school, than other students who have not been involved.  When applying for college and jobs in the future, they will be more likely to be accepted into a school or get a job if they have been in school sports, clubs and activities in middle through high school. 

Even if you are quiet or shy or it’s hard for you to start something….get involved anyway!  Once you find the school activity where you belong and your talents are being used, your whole school experience will change and maybe even your life!  If it makes it easier, join with a friend or two.  Be listening and watching out for the perfect opportunity to get involved at Risley International.  There is something at our school for everyone! 


Featured Teachers & Staff

Ms. Juley Flint—Instructional Coach

 I went to Roncalli Middle school, and I attended South High, but only for one year.  Then my parents moved my younger sister and me to Gunnison where I graduated from Gunnison High School. I went to Arizona State University for three years.  While I was there, I studied music and marketing.  I finished college at CSU-Pueblo (at the time, it was called USC).  I earned a degree in English with a minor in Reading.  I’ve also earned two master’s degrees.  The first I earned in Technology in Education from Lesley University; the second I earned in Gifted and Talented Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado. My mom was an elementary-school teacher.  I used to help her make bulletin boards and grade papers.  Teaching looked like a fun “job”.  This is my 21st year of teaching.  I started at Bradford, teaching kindergarten and then 1st grade.    From elementary school, I moved to Heaton Middle School where I taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade Language Arts.  Most recently, I taught 9th Grade MYP Language and Literature and 12th grade DP Language A: Literature at East High school.  People ask me all the time what my favorite grade was.  I have to say that 1st grade was my favorite.  The students can’t wait to learn, and they love their teachers.

 I have played the piano since I was three; one of my favorite pastimes is to sit down at the piano when no one is around and play.  Another hobby I enjoy is reading.  I’m a bookworm and have a very difficult time putting a book down once I start it.  I also enjoy camping, traveling and hanging out with my son and my dog.

I’ve been to Hawaii and Canada, and I’ve travelled to many of the states within the U.S. I was also lucky enough to travel to London, England to study Shakespeare in 1993.  While I was there, I got the chance to go to Paris and see the sights there.  It was truly a trip of a lifetime. My favorite things about Risley are the staff; they have been so welcoming and helpful.  The students have also been a highlight.  I’m enjoying getting to know them and seeing what great people they are.

 Miss Randy Vite - ESS

I was born in Highland Mills, New York. It is a small town upstate, about an hour north of New York City. Teaching is what brought me to Pueblo for a new experience and adventure. I really wanted to explore Colorado.  I went to Monroe-Woodbury School District where I went to middle school and high school. I loved my school, however it was a much smaller school district than Pueblo-60. We only had one middle school and one high school so we did not get to choose where we went. I attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania which was about two and half hours away from my home. I was a dual major in special education as well as middle school education with a concentration in math and science. I also played for the women’s varsity lacrosse team.

I have always wanted to be a teacher. My mom is a fantastic teacher and I always wanted to be just like her. This is actually my first year teaching and I love every second of it. In my family, I have 3 brothers that I am very close with. One is older and two are younger I also have my mom and my dad who are great. I miss them very much since they are all still back in New York.  I love to play sports. I played soccer, basketball and lacrosse when I was in high school. When I went to college I played lacrosse for 4 years. I also love to do things outdoors and hang out with my friends. I have traveled to Puerto Rico, where I lived on a coast guard base for 2 months. I also taught at the Department of Defense Unit School. I have traveled across the west coast as well. My most favorite things about this school are the staff and the students. The staff is so committed and that inspires me to do my best. I also love how the students are so motivated to excel. I hope for the future to make an impact on many lives. I would like to make a change and provide an excellent education for all of my students.